So being out of the country for a couple of weeks without internet access does, in fact, limit how well you can keep up with your favorite hockey team.
Upon my return to the States, I checked up on the Islanders to see that things have taken a turn for the worse. In fact, when I wrote before the season started about what needed to go right for this team, I now see that recent results are giving me the exact opposite.
I wrote then that the team was depending on a return to form from his post season problems for Evgeny Nabakov, and instead we see a 3.30 GAA, and now and injury that will knock him out of commission for the time being. I also wrote that the team had to be expecting a young defensive corps to step up and perform, but we’ve seen some real struggles and regression there instead of growth, especially since to injury to Visnovsky.
I also said that the team absolutely had to have more secondary scoring that it had gotten the last couple of years. It couldn’t just be a one-line offensive threat. Well, it isn’t exactly a one line threat, since some of these guys play on different lines, but when you have Tavares with 25 points, Neilsen with 22 and Okposo with 20 through 22 games, and the next highest scorer has 10, that’s not balanced enough. Grabner, Bailey, and now Vanek simply have to score on a more regular basis, and guys like Clutterback, Bouchard, Colin McDonald, And Regin have to at least be a threat to score occasionally. What we’ve had thus far just isn’t enough, especially when you also have goaltending and defensive concerns.
Here’s hoping a return from injury by Vanek, and an eventual return by Visnovsky gets things turned around, possibly starting with tonight’s game in Pittsburgh, but I definitely feel like this team will need to do something about the situation in net in order to really make a dent on the playoff race. We’ll see what that move turns out to be.